Skip to content

5 technical surprises from F1 car launches

NurPhoto / Getty

Car launches can be thrilling for many reasons, as constructors will often share a detail or hint of a technical innovation that gets the paddock buzzing.

While the details will be impossible to confirm until preseason testing in Bahrain, here are the most eye-catching technical revelations that emerged during the launches of Formula 1's 2024 challengers.

Red Bull's sidepod inlet

Red Bull turned heads this week after photos of the RB20 during its shakedown run at Silverstone appeared to show a different sidepod design.

Even more questions arose after the 2024 launch as the RB20 on display seemed to show some kind of vertical inlet, which would differ greatly from the inlets used on the team's previous RB18 and RB19 models. Many theories have been proposed, including it being a Mercedes-style sidepod inlet or an innovative S-duct.

McLaren's sidepod secret

Keeping with the topic of sidepod inlets, McLaren has also made a notable change to its design structure with the introduction of a wing that extends past the sidepod. This wasn't obvious to the naked eye at first, as the team is going in a different direction than the underbite sidepod inlet used in 2023.

Mercedes gets nosy

Formula 1 is all about riding on the edge of legality and finding loopholes in the regulations. Mercedes seems to have done just that with its front wing design on the W15. While there were numerous other significant changes, like to the rear suspension and sidepods (for real this time), it's the nose where the Silver Arrows have caught everyone's attention.

Ferrari's suspension gamble

Ferrari's big surprise from the launch of the SF-24 is hard to call an innovation. In fact, it's the bold choice to stay static that surprised many. The Scuderia revamped their 2024 challenger, but Ferrari - and, by extension, Haas - are now the only two teams that are sticking with pull-rod suspension in the rear.

Aston Martin goes aggressive

Aston Martin appears to be making an aggressive bid in trying to return to the top of the grid. Taking inspiration from Red Bull's 2023 inlet design, Aston Martin looks to have pushed this design to the extreme in its AMR24 challenger.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox